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WVU Players Won the Hiring Battle in Josh Eilert, But at What Cost



Josh Eilert

West Virginia has been in search of a men’s basketball head coach since Bob Huggins resigned last weekend. WVU conducted a national search but ultimately decided to stay in-house, promoting assistant Josh Eilert as interim head coach.

WVU took a week to promote Eilert to an interim role, but it was following the departures of Tre Mitchell (F), Kerr Kriisa (G) and Joe Toussaint (G) to the transfer portal. Can Eilert keep this current situation stable? It sounds like it was the best chance to out of all the possibilities.

It was reported on Thursday night that Mitchell will enter the transfer portal. Mitchell has the option to return to West Virginia but appears to show intentions of playing his final season of college elsewhere. Mitchell’s decision started a domino effect as guards Kriisa and Toussaint entered the following day. Eilert will have to do his best job at retaining the players fully and settling everyone down from the chaotic week. Eilert and director of recruiting Jay Kuntz will attempt to get the Mountaineer trio to exit the transfer portal but it may be too late.

After a week of many different sides wanting their own guy, the West Virginia players won the battle with Eilert getting the interim tag. Sources tell WV Sports Now that the players were in favor of an internal hire all week. Rumored candidates were Andy Kennedy (UAB), Jerrod Calhoun (Youngstown State), John Beilein, Ron Hunter (Tulane), Ritchie McKay (Liberty), Pat Kelsey (College of Charleston) and others. It reached a point on Thursday where the team just wanted a coach in the position.

For the potential short-term hire, Eilert was the safest pick as it gives the University a whole season to watch for candidates. Baker and the board can have an extra nine months to breathe and figure out a long-term plan for the future of the basketball program. Eilert also gets the opportunity to coach a Big 12 team as the man in charge. Perhaps Eilert is evaluated at the end of next season. It’s a win-win for all parties as it’s the safest pick.

Eilert has been with West Virginia’s program for 16 seasons after following Huggins from Kansas State. Eilert was promoted to a main assistant role after Erik Martin took the South Carolina State job in 2022. Eilert spent his first six seasons at WVU as a video coordinator under Huggins.

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